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These Canyons: The 38th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition (May 16 – June 8, 2008)
UC Berkeley’s Master of Fine Arts graduates invite viewers to engage with the contemporary moment.
Berkeley, CA, April 25, 2008—(Click for a downloadable PDF version of this press release.) The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents These Canyons: The 38th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition, on view from May 16 through June 8. This exhibition continues a nearly forty-year tradition in which M.F.A. graduates have the opportunity to present their work in the museum galleries and, in the process, gain valuable experience working in a professional museum setting.
These Canyons gathers seven artists who, despite working with disparate styles and subject matter, root their practice in a common acknowledgement of the contemporary moment. Rethinking critical concepts from personal vantage points, each artist manages to relate aesthetic discourse to organic experience in a tangible and meaningful way. The seven artists featured in the exhibition are Adrianne Crane, Renée Delores, Rosalynn Khor, Indira Martina Morre, Emily Prince, Wenhua Shi, and Sunaura Taylor.
The complex relationship between humans and nature is at the heart of the work of Renée Delores and Sunaura Taylor. Delores exhibits a photographic montage of hands tattooed with "Not Superior," a phrase Darwin wrote on his hand as a daily reminder. Accompanying the photographs is a handmade book constructed from three-years-worth of Delores' drawings and notes, which have been shredded and mulched in a cathartic act of erasure. Taylor's work is rooted in the often-inimical relationship between humans and animals. Her large-scale paintings, in which the dominant photorealism cedes to passages of expressionistic painting, depict the horrors of factory farming.
The nature of time is explored in two extremely different ways through the work of Adrianne Crane and Emily Prince. Crane takes a popular childhood game—the creation of snow angels—and filters it through the traditions of ceramic arts and guerilla arts. She makes wet-slip imprints of these "angels," her immersive performance leaving behind only traces of her body in the cracked, dried surface. Prince uses familial intimacy to look at the relationship between the past and present. Working with collage photos, slides, and contemporary versions of zoopraxiscopes (early motion picture machines invented by Eadweard Muybridge), Prince represents the life of her mother and father as separately documented in family photos. Her work strives to reconcile memory with time, examining our inability to ever go back into the past.
Travel informs the work of two of the exhibition's artists: Rosalynn Khor and Wenhua Shi. Khor's self-reflexive videos document the tourism industry in Hawaii, using humor and the artist's meticulous research to expose the complex labor and race issues that lie behind the websites and cultural museums presented to the public. Shi's sculptures of resin suitcase blocks contain embedded radio-frequency identification devices that play the travel stories of people he has encountered on his daily routine. The effect for the audience is akin to wandering through a train station or airport: the stories of random strangers build off of one another and create a new psychogeographical map.
Psychological landscapes are also prevalent in the work of Indira Martina Morre. Her paintings, which have an intense gloss achieved through a complicated layering process, examine the relationship between the organic and the simulated world. Her paintings reflect a world of pass codes, asterisks, dots, and dashes.
These Canyons: The 38th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition runs May 16 through June 8.
Members' Opening Reception
Friday, May 16, 6:30-8:30pm
Sunday, May 18, 3 p.m.
Each of the artists featured in These Canyons will speak informally about his or her work, and answer questions from museum visitors.
The annual MFA exhibition at BAM/PFA is made possible by the Barbara Berelson Wiltsek Endowment.
Programs at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Packard Humanities Institute, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, The Christensen Fund, and other private foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals, including the BAM/PFA membership. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 5. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Admission: General admission is $8; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5; admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and children under 12 is free; admission for group tours is $3 per person (to arrange a group tour, call (510) 642-5188). Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.
Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.